2010 June, July, & August Results

Firedot BTI 10" Flasher
2 Squid Meat Rig

7/26/10 Hot Rigs
Port of Manistee, MI

Hot rigs back on 8/9/10
Leland, MI & N Manitou Island

2010's 1st & Last Fish
A fleeting 6 months!


2010 Results for Capt. John's Log

9/30/10  Last Monday, 9/27/010 marked my last trip of the 2010 season.  It was not the utopian full-box, action packed outing we hoped for, but every year is different.   Fluctuations in fish numbers & movements always present a never ending challenge.
             This year even more-so with plenty of wind that kept us shore-side way, way too much.  Change is the only constant!  Click last ride to the dock in 2010
             Tomorrow I'll share with you some of the interesting stats collected aboard my boat during the full-run of this season with my unscientific fishing log.

9/29/10  What's the difference between thinking and knowing?  Thinking leads to knowing is probably one of the correct answers.  In my case there was no thinking about the new Firedot pattern officially introduced after our 8/9/10 trip to Leland, MI's N. Manitou Island.  Already knew about this color's deadly effect on August Salmon from past experience.
             Been wanting to add this vibrant color since I retired from chartering in 2003 and went into tackle manufacturing in 2004.  Other projects took precedence and the Firedot got pushed to the back burner until this season. Click 8/9/10 Firedot fish box
             Then, there's the ever important issue of performance vs. cost which my Sparkler, HRP and Firedot are proven winners on both sides of this issue.
             Cost savings on these 3 flashers reflects the base color of the flasher is the reel-deal.  No costly lure tape, pricey labor, or complicated painted art work is involved.
              This topic will be continued tomorrow with my personal thoughts and proven track record of these 3 flasher patterns I'm very, very proud of.  note: old is good?

9/28/10  Fished Manistee, MI yesterday from about 9am until we pulled lines around 11am.  Setup in 45' of water and found temp at 30' to be 54.  At 40' down it was in the mid 40s.  Made one long troll northwest out to 200'.  Then, threw in the towel from the total lack of any rodular activity.  Marked a lot of biomass inside of 60', but once we made it out to ....and past the 100' depths Mother Hubbard's cupboard was bare.
            The years have taught me the most reliable fishing at this time of the season is on the other side of the 35 west line and to the north of Manistee. The 35W line is 12-13 miles west of the Port of Manistee, MI.  13 miles offshore with very few boats to lend assistance at this time of the season makes long runs like that a bit out of reach for my 22 footer.  Besides, I'd rather err on the side of safety, not risk.

9/27/10  Need to put some bookends on big lake season 2010 before I winterize and store my boat.  One final grand hurray would be the icing on the cake.
             My season got off to a sound start on 4/1/10 with 8 Browns and 2 Lakers.  Not bad for the first trip of the dock.  Considering we only fished a short day.
             In all honesty, I'm going to call 2010 a trying season.  Trying is for "trying" to get off the dock when the wind and seas were tolerable.  Tried to get some late season testing in the week before and week after Labor Day to no avail.  Gale force winds going full circle kept the lake stirred up and fish hard to locate for the occasional angler.
             Big water means big seas and wind, but usually not what we grudgingly tolerated this year.  With most fishermen being eternal optimists, "there's always next year!"

9/26/10  A few leaves are coming down, but there's no parade of fall colors yet.  Surprisingly enough, Manistee, MI has not a tinge of frost for this late into Sept. 
Days are growing noticeably shorter as official autumn 2010 arrived last week.
             With the DNR making the rules on deer baiting, or not ...lest not forget the rules of Mother Nature supersedes mankind's futile attempts.  Every time man has tried to manage nature's laws the outcome is similar to the present day Asian Carp fiasco.
             The genie has been let out of the bottle with these Asian Carp and I fear it's only a matter of time until they spread like the common Carp we're used to seeing.
             I came by the conclusion of natural transmigration of fish with our last ice age ending about 10,000 years ago.  How else can you explain all fish species native to our temperature zone being evident in all lakes and puddles?
              Lk. MI is supposed to be 1 to 3s today and even nicer tomorrow.

9/25/10  5 days and counting to the opening of bow season for whitetails.  Last winter was easier then 2008 with less snow.  The no baiting issues still draws plenty of debate. 
             Since the DNR has made big brother rules telling me what I can do on my own property ...I no longer even consider deer hunting.
             The truth about baiting deer with corn is very expensive.  During that worst part of deep winter I'd bust open parts of a hay bale.  This kept the deer critters from gnawing my young pine trees I raised from sprigs.  Since no baiting is policy now there's huge voids in my pine trees where the branches have been destroyed.  I will be removing 3 rows of damaged trees planted as a wind and sound break soon.

9/24/10  Way too many topics for me to settle on just one. 
            1. More trips to the weir & Pine Creek to see if the fall run of Salmon has built? 
            2. Set aside a 1/2 day for a photo shoot at the Platte River Hatchery soon. 
            3. Need to update an article about Manistee's bonafided legend, Capt. Bud Raskey without over eulogizing his recent passing.
            4. Started laying the foundation for an article on night time full moon fishing we did in late July which turned out to be my best trip out of Manistee so far this season. 
            5. Explain in better detail why we took mercy on the Salmon after boxing 7 fish (could have killed 15) in the absolute worst possible timeframe.  Being full sun during the hours of
1pm-3:30pm.  Waters we fished was Leland's N Manitou Island on 8/9/10.
            6. Put together an update about the importance of who we fish with ...is a bunch more rewarding than the actual numbers of fish caught!
             It never ceases to amaze me there's so many worthy topics every time this website is updated around midnight of last night.  For those dyed in the wool big water trollers who appreciate the after Labor Day fishing the seas look mint for this Sun-Mon.

9/23/10  If 70% equals a "C" the 2010 Lk. MI Salmon season was a huge disappointment according to our recent poll.  Our largest group, 27% ...rated 2010 at number 3 (poor) on a scale from 1 to 10.  Only 30% voted for the season being above mediocre to excellent.
            Granted this poll can be skewed good, or bad by the time frame most fishermen hit the pond.  Then, how many times they fished this season.  Those that pursued Salmon from last April thru now would probably be voting on the lower end.
            This poll was configured where you could only vote once to help it's fairness.  With almost 300 visitors voting, 70% cast their votes for: 5. mediocre to 1. stinky poor.
            1% voted this past season a 10.  While 10% said it was the pits/worst at #1.
            My motivation behind this poll was to show all who struggled lack of big boxes of Salmon was not their fault.  Pure and simple, Great Lakes Salmon are eating machines and not all that hard to catch.  If, and when fish are at your port in sufficient numbers?

9/22/10  Summer 2010 passes into history as the 1st day of autumn falls upon us today.  From the looks of our poll 2010 will not go down in times gone by as a highly rated season.
            7 out of 10 of you rated this past summer Salmon season as mediocre to poor. With almost 10% giving the lowest basement rating of 1. stinky poor.
            Unless I miss my guess, there has to be at least one DNR employee seeing the vast majority of visitors to this website don't think too much of their single minded King Salmon focused fishery.  Having all of our eggs in one basket is beyond stupid.
  Speaking angrily about DNR is not in our best interest.  In defense of this agency is strapped for funds from less fishing license revenues.
             I do know there's a army of retired big lake fishermen that would volunteer their time to babysit hatcheries, clean raceways, or stack food pellets.  As our new Michigan learns to reinvent itself ...let's hope the DNR considers free volunteer help.

9/21/10  According to a very trusted source in Manistee, MI the offshore deepwater fishery for Steelhead is going gang busters.  38 west line is said to be good, but it's a hike to get there if you're used to fishing Manistee's shelf in the 100' to 250' depths.
            Today's featured photo is from website member, SteveO.  Steve was fishing out of Kewaunee, WI and racked up a 12 fish mixed bag of Salmon, Lakers, & Rainbows.  Rainbows is WI speak for what we in MI call Steelhead. Click for SteveO's 9/18/10 trip

            Installed a poll where you can rate the 2010 season.  The same exact poll is installed on our private message board.   74% of our members are rating the 2010 Salmon season at mediocre, or less.  I've watched my fish per hour output decline since 2007 & rated 2010 at number 3. poor!  Please share your thoughts on 2010.

9/20/10  Yesterday took a short road trip to Manistee, MI's Pine Creek for a Salmon seeing excursion.   Much to my surprise there was nary fish to be found.  The not pleasant nagging question of "where's the fish" ...remains? Click for Salmon-less Pine Creek
            Normally, mentioning anything about locations of spawning Salmon is a big no-no.  It's just inviting the snaggers/violators to wreck havoc upon the fish trying to procreate future generations of fish for us to catch.
            Pine Creek is a designated Trout stream with seasonal restrictions.  MI's regular Trout season runs from the last Saturday in April thru the end of September.  
            I have an archived photo of Pine Creek Salmon spawning on 9/21/07 from exactly the same location showing at least 6 Salmon.  This historical image will be posted later this week with a 2010 vs. 2007 comparison.

9/19/10  Today is the last Sunday in summer 2010.  This coming Thursday marks the official beginning of autumn.  Too bad winters cannot fly by as quick as summertime.
 New Firedot gave a respectable account of itself be being introduced well into the first week of this August.  Coupled with the UV Squid Meat Rig was quite impressive this first time I put this team in the water. Click Firedot's deadly debut on 8/9/10
           This pattern is ageless and dates back to the late 1960s.  There was a short bent funny spoon known and the Manistee Wobbler that found fleet favor in school bus yellow & fluorescent red dots.  This pattern was then transferred to dodgers in the 1980s.
            It was a no brainer for me to include the Firedot on my tackle lineup.  It's not a sophisticated color, but it's success on August-September speaks for itself.

9/18/10  Looks like this weekend is going to be fishable off central Lk. MI ports like Manistee, MI.  1 to 3s today and light NE wind with 1 footers for tomorrow.
           Need to clarify yesterday's update about tribal commercial fishing.  Presently there are no net fishers working out of Manistee.  Ludington still has tribal trap nets, but nothing compared to the fiasco Manistee suffered thru back in 2007.  Click 2007 head line
           Many thanks to all who expressed their condolences about the loss of our dog mentioned in yesterday's update.  All who knew me and spent anytime at my place got to know Spotty too.  Whoever coined the phrase about dogs being man's best friend hit the nail on the head.  Pets enrich our lives with their unconditional devotion!

9/17/10  The grand experiment in tribal trap net fishing from Manistee's Little River Native Americans is over.  Gone is the millions of dollars the State of Michigan paid this tribe (with our money) for trap nets, boats, gear, and startup costs. 
           Plain and simple the 2000 Consent Decree monies given to this tribe have been siphoned off.  This whole affair has taken 10 years to play out.  Showing a money grab was the deal, not the bargaining chip of tribal fishing rights.
            At this time there are no tribal net fishers off Manistee waters.  The remaining nets that were in the 11s and 12s have been pulled recently.  Manistee for the time being is 100% net free from the scourge of 21 trap nets we endured in 2007!
            For the first time in close to 25 years there are no Black Labs in my household.  My companion of 12 years, Spotty was euthanized at 3pm yesterday afternoon.  He was a blessing that cannot be put into words.  I know calling a all black dog Spot is a little odd, but he had black spots on his tongue. Click for my sweetheart Spotty Dog

9/16/10  Caught myself reminiscing about my most exciting fishing time so far this season.  Hands down and going away, 7/26/10 ranks at the top of the list.
             July 26, 2010 was the night of the full moon and my boat SR1979 racked up it's first four-banger since I bought this vessel in 2007.  Today's featured photo captures 75% of the mayhem (3 Kings boated) while we were still dealing with the 4th fish of the quad.
             4 bangers rarely get landed by just a 2 person crew, but Matt B and I got lucky and all 4 made it to the net! Click 3 of our quad on 7/26/10

             Not only was this trip exciting ...it was highly memorable too.  We fished a late afternoon set to midnight.  Boxing 8 fish in the process.  Our last 2 Kings were caught in eerie pitch black full night conditions.

9/15/10  Tallied up the season's sales in 12 inch flashers to see what pattern is leading the hit parade.  1st in the regular non-glow category is Black Mamba.  No earth shattering surprise with the Black Mamba, as it's held the number sales rank 1 since 2004.
             2nd place was earned by the 2011 hush-hush Stimulus Flasher.  3rd trailing by only 4 flashers is the Leland Puke introduced newly introduced for the 2010 season.
             Interesting reel-factoid about the 2011 Stimulus Flasher is that it wasn't introduced until the last half of August.  Then caught fire with fish and the fishermen.  Mr. Stimulus has not been formally introduced with a photo on this website either ...yet.
             Rocketing to second place in a few weeks is from the fishermen choice at 3 tackle stores.  Ludington's Capt. Chucks, Manistee's Tangled Tackle, and Shipwatch Marina are the 3 outlets where you can buy this flasher to bailout your program after 9am.
To watch my brain child gain fleet favor & catapult up the popularity ladder is amazing!

             This long winded group petitioned the EPA on August 3, 2010 to have lead put on the toxic substances list.  Over 80% of the research they cited pertained to lead shot ammunition and the rest was pointed at fishing sinkers. Click for this document
              OK, we all know lead is harmful, but birds will not be swallowing cannonballs and divers.  Yep, diver prices will be skyrocketing too!  If, and when a lead ban goes in effect?
             The EPA is only be accepting feedback on this proposed ban on lead thru tomorrow, 9/15/10.  You can make your opinion known to the EPA by clicking here.
              MI residents can fire off a easy to do ...click thru form letter to Senators Levin & Stabenow.  Along with your local district congressional representative by clicking here
              Being able to contact many in a short period of time might be one of the finest uses for this new technology we've yet to fully understand called, the internet!

9/13/10  Big water Salmon and Trout fishermen are a resilient group, but we don't need the EPA raining on our parade with a ban on lead cannonballs.  Lead weighs 710 pounds per cubic foot and can be purchased new for 3 bucks a pound.  Salvaged lead is cheaper.
            Tungsten looks to be the next alternative coming in at 1205 pounds per cubic foot.  1205 pounds is exactly what a cubic foot of gold weighs too.  Tungsten is very expensive, like 12 to 14 bucks a pound. Click black cannonballs
             Point I'm trying to make is: less production costs to pour tungsten ...the lowball base number is 150 dollars for a 12 pound cannonball.  Not counting manufacturing costs and dealer markup.  $200 per 12 pound cannonball is a distinct reel-possibility.
              For many years our government thought nothing of using leaded gas in the Great Lakes.  In the process dispersing tons and tons of lead to raise the octane level of gas.  Now the EPA want to pick on us little people to make up for their past mistakes.
              If you're apt to pitch a bitch like I did about costly non-lead cannonballs, please use this link:
Click to send in your comments about the EPA's misguided policy
              Michigan residents can get another anti-lead ban form letter off to our

9/12/10  Fleet-wide consensus on Friday's Manistee, MI's fishing results were lackluster.  Not numbers we've accustomed to for the week after Labor Day. Granted recent gale force winds have kept the fish scattered.  Before I rank the 2010 season ...the numbers of Salmon returning to the Little Manistee Weir this fall must be taken into account.
            Let's hope the DNR boosts the Coho plant for Manistee County, cuz this business of relying on just Kings/Chinook Salmon must come to an end.  Heard a DNR representative doing a presentation on our MI Great Lakes fishery saying, Coho cost about a buck a piece to raise.  License fees my wife and I pay push 60 bucks.  You'd think some of that money could be earmarked for major Coho plants in the Little Manistee River.
            Berating the failures of the MDNR like slot limits for Lakers & a 25% cut in Chinook plants that ended up being 66% less fish returning (08 weir numbers) is not my goal.
            I figure the complexities of trying to manage/predict what the Great Lakes are capable of is a crap shoot with loaded dice on top of a
Ouija  board.

9/11/10  The curtain is coming down on the final chapter of Capt. Bud Raskey's life at Guardian Angels Church, 371 5th St. here in Manistee, MI at 10am this morning.
            I count myself as blessed having fished with Capt. Bud on several occasions covering all parts of the season both on Lk. MI and the Big Manistee River.
            Bud's knowledge put me on the right path when lead core was just starting to catch on in about 1994.  He was the one who told me to remove the inner piece of lead and then treat it like regular line to tie on a leader, or backing.
            Today's featured photo is 2 titans from our MI fishing history with Wolverine Tackle's (Silver Streak Spoons) Chuck Cartwright & Capt. Bud (back to camera).  They were visiting at a spring sport show in about 01.  Both Bud & Chuck are no longer among the living, but continue to live on in my heart. Click 2001 Bud & Chuck

9/10/10  In the not too distant future ...I'll be updating pages associated with the recently deceased Capt. Bud Raskey.  I had a general bio and a photo "how to" on pulling
sewn minnows and cowbells.  Granted you might not never use this tactic, but you'll be able to do it correctly if the situation arises.   Click Sewn Minnows  
           Sewn minnows are just as deadly on Lake Trout with frozen minnows (spot-tails are best) as this method is on Brown Trout.  There was an intentional omission per Bud's request that will be revealed when I get around to updating the sewn minnows piece.
           Please consider the sewn minnows page a work in progress and in need of updating.  The minnows piece was wrote in i2k, or 01. Bud's bio article: Click Bud's Bio
was done in 01 & will be re-written to bring it up to date.

9/9/10  Summer's official end is not until the 23rd of this month, but it's beginning to feel like fall already.  Cool daytime temps in the low 60s is a big step down from about a week ago when some areas of northern MI were pushing 90.
           Tomorrow looks very favorable with wind SE blowing from shore out to sea.  10 to 15 knots, then diminishing to 10 knots or less is the wind and wave forecast.
            It's been over 2 weeks since I went fishing.  Hope to rectify this situation shortly.  Need photos for a planned major article debuting in early winter.  Testing of new 2011 tackle is definitely in order as soon the lake cooperates
    Capt. Bud Raskey's secret on pulling sewn minnows will be revealed soon. All be it may, I already did an article under his tutelage on this ageless technique.  Bud asked me not to reveal one important step.  With Bud being part of the lore and woven into the fabric of Great Lakes fishing for well over 60 years, I'm sure he wouldn't mind.

9/8/10  Today's featured photo is Super Mag Meat Head that I've been using all this season.  This meat head has taken close 2 dozen fish in 2010.
           I'm proud to share with you the scratches and dents had to be earned from fish chewing on this Super Magnum Meat Head.  Click gnawed up meat head
Beginning tomorrow the wind is finally supposed to lay down.  We've had about a week of what seems like gale force blows everyday.  This Friday looks reel-good with predicted 1 footers and so does this Saturday.  Sunday is tolerable at 1 to 3s.

Click full-size

Capt. Bud Raskey

9/8/10 Supplemental: There's a brand new star shining in the fish god's heaven today.  This bright star signifies our former living legend and my friend, Capt. Bud Raskey successfully completed life's journey at 7am on Tuesday, September 7, 2010.
        There's way too many wonderful things to say about this great man and I'm too grief stricken to even try right now.  Bud was in his 84th year and a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.  Funeral plans are below about visitation at Herbert Funeral Home here in Manistee. 

Visitation will be held this Friday from 2 to 4pm, then again at 7 to 9 pm at Herbert Funeral Home on 706 Kosciusko, Manistee, MI.  Funeral will be held this Saturday at 10am with a one hour visitation from 9am to 10am at Guardian Angels Church, 371 5th St.
Capt. Bud is survived by 2 daughters and 2 sons, along with his life companion Maxine.

9/7/10  It's no secret Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer, but we still have plenty of good fishing for adult Salmon left on the 2010 September calendar.
           Gone is the summer hoard of bumper boats, lines at the launch ramp, & long  delays at the fish cleaning tables.  For the flexible fisherman now is the time to go.
            Today's featured photo is a double header from one year ago.  Proving there's a good fishery for the anglers who want to get more days on the big pond.  Just your fishing trips based on a favorable forecast.  Click 9/8/09 double header
            Those that had their hopes up for big Salmon catching shindig this past holiday weekend to close out the season? ...went home discouraged by high winds & heavy seas.

9/6/10  Factoring in the recent blow days prior to this Labor Day this has to be some kind of record for extreme rough water.  Here's the NOAA offshore wave forecast:

9/5/10  After yesterday's high winds, rain, with temps in the 40, 50s, and the low 60s ...came to the conclusion this might be one of the most miserable Labor Day Weekends in several years.  Fleet might get a chance to fish today.  Waves are supposed to subside by later this afternoon.  Seas are diminishing from 3' to 5' to a more tolerable 2' to 3'.

9/4/10  After checking out the NOAA wind and wave forecast it's gonna be a crap shoot when the fleet finally does get a chance to fish. 
           Today's N gale force wind will be followed by Sunday's W (15-20 knots) switching to Monday's SW (15-25, then increasing to 30 knots towards midnight).
           If there is a silver lining to this bigtime crazy, mixed-up all compass-points blow we're experiencing now? ...2 things that come to mind:
           1. It's the reel-fact Lk. MI is staying so stirred up, reel-cold surface temps for prolonged periods might not happen.  N wind makes surface temps in the 50s, or lower meaning adult Salmon will be migrating up the rivers and streams in full force!
           2. The fleet is not decimating the fish population and our ports are reloading with fish.  Making better odds when the fleet gets their next shot at the fish.
            Looking back on August 2010 my fishing trips was limited to 3 times due to several factors.  Being on the pond lots of days and prompt shipping of tackle orders associated with my tackle business do not go hand in hand.  Instead of being bummed about not fishing much, it's a bunch better to appreciate the times I did get to go.  Enjoying the fishing memories & who I fished is a good mind cure that cannot be bought!

9/3/10  Sustained wind exceeding 30 mph has been pummeling Ludington's Big Point Sable since 2am last night.  This equates to 5' to 8' seas.  At 2pm this afternoon a gale warning will come into effect with west wind increasing to plus 40mph ...waves 9' to 14'!
          Turning blow days into useful fishing days can be done by fishing alternative bodies of water.  Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City is protected from E, W, & S winds.  Only a hard N blow will make this long sliver of water a challenge to fish. 
           Most all deep water inland lakes in northern MI have Lake Trout populations.  14'-16' boats can easily fish the larger rivers like the St. Joe, Grand, Muskegon, & Manistee.
           South blows make Glen Arbor and excellent choice for the trailer boats under 25'. Frankfort's E & W Platte Bays offer shelter from hard south blow if you can get past Point Betsie, ...then be willing to fight huge seas on your return trip back towards Frankfort.
           Organizing and cleaning your boat making sure everything is ultra ready when the wind does lay down is a helluva lot better than fishing out of an ill prepared vessel.
           Just sitting on shore watching the wind blow sucks.  Do something creative to add days to your fishing season.  Anglers get so focused on one port ...they lose sight of the many choices in places to fish around our freshwater seas, the majestic Great Lakes!!!!

Here's a 9/2/10 Email testimonial about the new 2011 stimulus 12" flasher:
"John, Used your new Stimulus flasher today out of Manistee. Ran it on the center rigger at 115 down. All I can say is hail to the chief....we caught 9 fish and missed a few others on that flasher between 9 and 11am.
           It actually outpaced the Black Mamba which has been the best on our boat. Just Awesome!!! Thanks, Jason Decker  First Mate - First Class Charters"

9/2/10  Starting tomorrow the wind is gonna blow hard and come full circle by Monday.  Labor Day is east wind preceded by NW ...making the harbors magnets for Salmon and hoards Salmon fishermen.  This is known as harbor patrol, aka combat fishing with many boats in a small area.  Patience and courtesy go a long ways for this style of fishing.
            Longtime website member, Chaos aka Steve E was wrecking havoc on the fish population off the Port of Pentwater, MI.  Steve took a nice mix of fish, 17 on one trip to be exact using my flashers & flies exclusively.  Steve uses the 12 inchers and flies on his riggers.  The BTI 10" flashers are standard equipment on his divers.
            In case you're not familiar with Pentwater, it's about 10 miles south of the highly popular Port of Ludington, MI.   Click for 8/31/10 Pentwater catch

9/1/10  Wind is the largest concern for this coming Labor Day Holiday 2010.  Lk. MI open waters forecast for Friday and Saturday is not good.  This coming Sunday is looking tolerable.  There is E wind predicted to swing to NW.  This means if the lake cools down enough there will be Kings in Manistee's harbor in the not too distant future.
             Manistee Charter boat the Sue Lee fished yesterday in 6 footers at his customers request.  Capt. Tom R called me to report holding speed was tough and he caught fish with the new 2011 stimulus flasher pulling the new UV 3 squid meat rig. 
             Capt. Tom said he took fish at 100', 110', and a 120 down'.  His down-speed was approaching almost 3 mph in wind gusts exceeding 20 knots.  He had good words for the new 12" Firedot flasher and meat rigs too.
             Sometime today, Capt. Chucks Tackle in Ludington, MI will have the new hot selling 2011 4 color 12 inch pearl flashers in stock.  Fish it deep in 38 to 48 degree water and after 9am to give your mid-morning program reel-stimulus.  While the actual reel-nickname implies novelty, it's fish production rivals, ...or exceeds any flasher we have.

8/31/10  Today's featured photo is courtesy of website member, Larry M.  It's a heck of a nice rack of Lakers and a couple of Steelhead from Grindstone City, MI. 
             What impresses me about Larry's photograph is these Lake Huron Lake Trout are nice filled-out plump chunky fish. Click for Larry's 8/29/10 Lk. Huron catch  
             Not like the skinny Lakers I saw in 2004 with large over-grown heads and slender tapering bodies.  Looks like the forage base in Lk. Huron is on the build.
             It's official ...the hot selling semi secret stimulus flasher is a huge hit.  Since it's introduction about 10 days ago, it's outsold our Black Mamba in the month of August.  To clarify: the new flasher surpassed the Black Mamba's 4 weeks of sales in only 10 days!
             Yesterday morning Manistee charter vessel, "Reel Pleasure" took 5 Kings on this new 12" flasher during the late morning time span of 9am-10am.  The base of this flasher blade is our expensive industry leading pearl colorant.  As a whole ...the tackle industry seems to ignore pearl due to cost issues.  Broadly used plain-Jane white colorant is 1/3 to 1/2 expense of pearl when it comes to injection molded tackle.
             There's a kaleidoscope of 4 contrasting air brushed colors on this deadly highly UV sensitive flasher.  Restocked Shipwatch Marina and Tangled Tackle stores yesterday and will be restocking their supplies again today.  Yes, there's that much demand!  
              The new and unseen 2011 stimulus flasher is on it's way to Capt. Chuck's in Ludington, MI today and will be on their tackle shelves tomorrow. 

8/30/10  Visited the Little Manistee River Harvest Weir yesterday around 6pm.  This was to check-out the numbers of adult Kings that have ran the river.  Much to my surprise there was less than 100 Salmon at this Salmon capture/egg taking facility.
           This is excellent news, cuz 99% of the 2010 crop of adult Kings is still in Lake Michigan waiting to be caught. Click for 8/29/10 Salmon at the harvest weir
           Checked out 6 Mile Bridge on the Little Manistee River above the weir and there were no Kings to be seen.  So, it's not like a early big run entered this river undetected.
           The dark shadows in today's photo shows the sparse number of Salmon in the river.  This means an extended fishery well past Labor Day and beyond.
           Generally, the 1st cold gulley washer in Sept. draws the Salmon into the rivers by the droves.  Needless to say, this ends the open water Lk. MI adult King Salmon fishery.
            Accessing the Little Manistee Harvest Weir from Stronach, MI cannot be done.  There's a bridge out.  Other routes involve many miles of bumpy washboard dirt roads.

8/29/10  Yesterday's report: South of Big Point Sable wind was a slightly less than what the Manistee fleet had to contend with.  S wind started pushing 20 knots by 10am & laid down a little by sunset.  As of 12am last night wind off Manistee has picked back up.
          Frankfort's Benzie Frenzy Tournament concludes today.  We have at least 4 website members fishing this event and I should have the reel-story on how this tourney went soon..  Frankfort. MI is only out done with bottom structure by Leland, MI with 5 distinctive place to fish.  Lower Herring Lake Hole, "the bank" towards Point Betsie, 6 mile hole, East, and West Platte Bay are all places for the Port of Frankfort anglers.

8/28/10  NOAA wind and wave forecast is not good for the trailer boat fleet:



8/27/10  Fishing news from Manistee is encouraging.  This past Tuesday ...day of the full moon was a toughie for the Manistee fleet for the most part.  Wednesday was lumpy with wind from the north and temp break (thermocline) came up to only 20' to 30' down.
            Consensus catch numbers from yesterday?  From a handful to low double figures.
            Scattered ...best describes the fleet's action yesterday.  Kings were caught in the harbor out to past the 300 foot depths.  50' to 60' of water on Manistee's shelf was decent too with a few adult Coho making their presence known.  Look for temp to be driven much deeper with the stiff breezes from the S and SW predicted thru next Monday.
            Posted a photo of the box of fish we took fishing off N Manitou last Monday morning.  The new Firedot in the 10 and 12 inch sizes is earning it keep.  The UV Squid Rig in 2 & 3 fly versions teams with the Firedots extremely well. Click our Manitou fish box
             The on the QT stimulus flasher I was speaking of yesterday?  This new one works with the Undertaker 3 Fly Meat Rig.  It's best put to use around, or after 9am on a deep rigger set. Therefore, adding another tool to your arsenal of off-peak bite weapons.

8/26/10   Have a new flasher pattern that is showing signs of going viral.  I dare not show a photo, cuz demand is already wearing me out.  This new color can be purchased at Tangled Tackle and Shipwatch Marina here in Manistee.  If you're Salmon program needs bailing out, or some stimulus? ...then send this new one down at 9am.
            By this afternoon the wind is switching to the S, or SW for the next several days.  Be prepared to fish reel-deep, as wind from this direction will really stack up the warm water along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
             Today's featured photo is from St. Joe taken 2 days ago on 8/24/10.  It shows a mixed bag catch that includes a 20 lb. Lake Trout.  Our next generation of big water anglers, Anthony and Tyler were fishing with their dad, Chris.  Click for this catch

8/25/10   One of the greatest advantages of owning a trailerable boat is visiting different ports of call.  Seeing fresh places & testing yourself to conquer a new port has it's own rewards.  With that thought in mind, fishing Leland last Monday was an excellent way for me to refill my internal self-happiness tank to the brim. Click W side of N & S Manitou
             Hindsight is always 20/20 and mine kicks in well after the fact.  Putting 2 & 2 together on the 8/23/10 Leland event our west troll ...while not red hot, was productive with a bite about every 15 minutes and even a chance at a double.
             It's when I turned east things went to hell in a hand basket.  If I'd have been more on the ball?  After 30 minutes of no Bitesville on the east troll?  It would have been far more time efficient for us to pull lines and run E to our point of beginning.  Then retrace the W productive troll.  Instead of beating on a dead horse (east troll) for better than 90 minutes with zero action. Click Roger C holding a John J Rig
             Even if this pull lines and run tactic had not worked?  It would have been better than stuck in the morass of indecision with a rapidly declining patience meter.

8/24/10  Yesterday, Roger, Jerry & I fished N Manitou Island off Leland, MI.  We began fishing around 9am and boxed our first King shortly thereafter.  Action was acceptable thru 11am (boxed 6) when the wind shifted to due east and we lost the bite entirely.  Besides, E wind is always darn good excuse when skills at staying on top of fish ...is sorely lacking.
            Initial plan was to launch out of Glen Arbor and fish the west side of the reef off south end of S Manitou Island, but predicted wind from the north cheesed this idea. N wind makes retrieving your boat at the Glen Arbor's unprotected ramp a reel-risky deal.
            Our best bait was the John J Rig down the chute triple aces (111') over 150' to 250' feet of water.  We fished this very same area about 2 weeks ago and maintained a 5 bite an hour average from 1:15pm thru 3:30pm.  Click Jerry's 9am King off N Manitou
            So, the middle of the day Kings off Leland will hit, if you can find them?  When compared to our 8/9/10 event we marked a whole lot less fish off the north island. 
   To be continued tomorrow with photos of our the hot rigs & the W side of N Manitou.

8/23/10  Labor Day is 2 weeks away.  Regretfully, my August Lk. MI fishing trip meter is stuck on twice. That's downright pitiful.  Especially, seeing  I live about 15 miles from the Manistee, MI boat launch.  Just where in the heck did this summer go?
            Benzie Frenzy is next weekend.  Frankfort, MI has always been a leader and is carrying that tradition forward with no complex multi-specie tournament formulas.  It weigh your best 2 daily MDNR license limits.  So, 10 Kings is OK.  I applaud Frankfort's wisdom and creating a level playing field.

8/22/10  Seems the fishing improved over the course of last week for Manistee, MI.  Early and late bite is going strong as of lately and that's good news!
            Keep forgetting to mention this, but the hot selling Leland Puke 12" flashers has had a product upgrade.  This flasher is now being built on a Sparkler blade with the added glitter.  The backside is taped with same style tape, as the glitter in the Sparkler flasher does not allow enough transparency.  Added cost of the pricey glitter colorant and second backside piece of lure tape from WTP was done with no price hike.
            If you look reel-closely on the flashers laying on top of a box of fish, the first one on the furthest left is the upgraded Leland Puke 12" flasher. Click for this photo

8/21/10  When I update this website at 4:40am the wind was gusting from the SSE, or S at 16-19 knots.  Transposed into mph is approx. 18 to 22.  NOAA's forecast is 10-15 knots which means the difference of 1 to 3 footers growing to uncomfortable 2 to 4 foot seas.
            With all the aids modern day big water anglers have, reliable wind and wave forecasts are sorely lacking.  Granted the wave forecast are dead-on part of the time.  But what about a fisherman trailering his boat a 100 miles only to find out the waves are too miserable to fish?  You'd think in this day and age there'd be more accurate wave predictions.  Instead of the crap shoot it is now.

8/20/10  Good luck to all fishing this weekend.  Bring extra patience with you and apply it with care when the boat ramp zoo starts driving you nuts.
            Tomorrow (Sat.) looks like a blow day until late afternoon for Manistee, MI.  Sun. might be OK if it lays down to 1 to 3 footers.  1 to 2s predicted for this coming Monday.
            Installed the new UV Squid in 2 & 3 fly versions at: www.michiganangler.com
The UV gathering properties in these new squids is off the scale.  They seem to glow with a bizarre purple to bluish tint once they hit the water!  Click new Squid Rig
            Special introductory pricing makes this ground breaking Squid Rig even more attractive.  Granted there are no squid in the Great Lakes, but evolution over the eons in the Pacific Ocean has ingrained squid as a basic food source for Salmon.
             Back in the late 1990s and early i2ks I experimented with tiny mini squids in building meat rigs.  These proved not to have the mass needed to perform consistently like the larger ones we're using now on the brand new 2011 UV Squid Rig

8/19/10  You know ...we've just scratched the surface on running mini attracting flies, or squids ahead of a meat head  3 Fly Meat Rigs have only been around for a little over 10 years.  What makes these rigs work is a irresistible moving mass of commotion that entices lazy negative and neutral fish to bite.  Plus, nature's natural scent of bait fish.
            Created a new squid rig that showed great promise on our 8/9/10 trip to Leland, MI's N Manitou Island.  We had 2 diver bites and at least 3 rigger hits during our early afternoon off-peak bite hours of 1:15pm until 3:30pm. 
            You can purchase the exact Firedot flasher & 3 Squid UV Rig as a Combo Deal at my webstore at a lowball introductory price of 25.99. Click for new Combo Deal
            The UV properties in these new squids must be seen to be fully appreciated.  These new UV squids are made in the USA too! Click un-retouched UV squid photo

8/18/10  We're experiencing a welcome respite from the heat wave with temps at, or pushing 90 degrees at my place.  Factor in the high humidity and it's been too muggy to really enjoy outside activities.
            For the past 3, or 4 days west wind has dominated the waters off Manistee, MI.  As long as there's not a lot of N in it, ...west wind is very favorable for our side of the pond.  West wind reloads the biomass with bait.  Where there's bait, the predatory fish will be found.  The recent blows off central Lk. Michigan ports is just what the doctor ordered to improve our fishery for adult King Salmon!

8/17/10  Today's featured photo was made possible by website member, Ofishallybroke This image shows a stocky King with a large girth according to his hand held scale over 22 pounds.  Do not have all the vitals on this fish, but it came deep (over 100' down) off the Port of Onekama, MI this past Sat. 8/14/10.  Click for 22 pounder
            Kings this size used to be a common occurrance thru 2003.  Not so anymore, as any King Salmon over 20 pounds nowadays is considered a good fish.
            Is a depleted gene pool, or the amount of bait driving the size of today's Kings?  That question is better answered by those with more knowledge on this subject than me!
            One thing I have noticed over the 5 plus decades I've been in quest of Great Lakes Salmon and Trout is  ...heat shock is no longer killing many adult Kings as they enter the harbors and rivers.  Our strain transplanted Pacific Ocean Salmon have adapted to the warm summer bath water.  There are a few Kings at the Little Manistee Weir now.

8/16/10  Today's sophisticated big water angler likes choices.  What that reel-fact in mind, our trolling flies have 3 hook style options and 2 different types of leader material.  Mono or fluorocarbon with fluoro being a dollar upgrade due to it's cost. 
            As far as I know, this is another world first where you can create your own tackle and have it your way!  Click for webstore trolling fly page
            Port of Manistee, MI was a tough nut to crack this past weekend.  The trailer boat fleet really struggled.  Adult Kings off Manistee were as scarce as hen's teeth.
            While I know not ...what the problem is, this I know for sure.  Out of temperature adult Kings get reel-stubborn as the water climbs much above 70 degrees.
            With the trap netting fiasco of 2007 behind Manistee many have returned to fish this port.  Additional extremely heavy boat traffic is not helping the situation either.

8/15/10  To those unfamiliar with my product line, today's photo shows what I discussed yesterday, a John J Combo Rig.  To be exact it's an Undertaker 3 Fly Meat Rig being towed by a 12" X-Glow King Kryptonite flasher.  This combination is deadly on your deepest rigger and you've probably seen this team of fish killers shown on this website before.
           The setup on this photo shows website member, Bob K. aka Getaway displaying a King that photographed larger than it actually is on 8/9/10.  This fish is only a few ounces over 16 pounds.  All be it may ...it looks larger.  Click for Bob K with John J Rig

8/14/10  Kinda got a kick out of today's featured photo showing John J doing a net job with a John J Combo Rig named in his honor.  JJ has netted a pile of fish for me on his namesake rig, but usually I can't take a photo with a fishing stick in my paws.
          There's another interesting reel-fact for those newer to big water fishing.  Once the fish is firmly planted in the bag of the net, hoist the net straight up in the air by the handle.  This saves bending, or breaking a good net.  Always keeping in mind, most nets have a long handle and are made from thin-wall light aluminum. Click John J net job
          An added benefit by lifting the net straight up in the air is the net handle does not become a weapon.  Like it does if the net handle points horizontal instead of vertical.

8/13/10  Fished Manistee for a couple of hours yesterday morning before shipping webstore orders.  Our results were lackluster at best.  We had lines in the water from around 7:30am until a little after 10pm.  The total sum of our action was a small King boated and losing another fish at the net due to a rare equipment malfunction.
           Water temp was 52 degrees at 80' down ...and in the high 40s at 100' down over 150' fow.  John J and I went N to the 19 to 22 numbers & worked 125'-275' of water.  We seen exactly 3 other fish caught in a situation where the boats outnumbered the Salmon!
           Manistee's Salmon flotilla is out in full-force.  Please exercise ramp courtesy by having your vessel ready to launch when you get an open dock. Click 8/12/10 Salmon

8/12/10  Stymied by the lack of a decent internet connection.  This is coming to you via a very slow 26.4 dialup connection.  My satellite internet access is down again.
           Word from Manistee is good and seems to be improving every day.  Heard of a lot of excellent catches in double figures so far ...this week.
           Will have a more thorough fishing report from Manistee by tomorrow.

8/11/10  As promised, ...today's featured photo helps explain what makes Leland, MI a excellent port to fish for the experienced Great Lakes angler.  It's the one single boat ramp and lack of parking that holds the crowds back.
            Leland is located N of Frankfort and S of Charlevoix on Lk. MI's E shore.  It's my gut feeling this port has no more fish than the better known MI ports further S.  Lack of boat pressure keeps the Leland King Salmon far less spooky when compared to the zoo off Points Sable, or Betsie.  Click Leland's single boat ramp
            Structure, meaning natural fish fences abound off this port with numerous underwater hills and valleys due to the proximity of N & S Manitou Islands.  This is not a port for the smaller boat fisherman.  Even in my 22 footer ...I felt way under-gunned running the best part of 20 miles out to the tip of N Manitou Is on 8/9/10.
             We hit a fish about every 15 minutes in the worst possible off-peak time frame of 1pm to 3:30pm last Monday involving 3 hours of travel each way.  2 hours to Leland pulling a boat.  Then about hour out to N Manitou. Click new Firedot 10" & 12" flashers
             Reason for this short fishing trip?  We got the photographic proof needed for the newly débuted and resurrected deadly Firedots.  During my charter skipper days of 1980s and 1990s ...I caught more Salmon on this lethal pattern, than all the rest combined.  It's only natural for me to want this fish whacker supreme, as part of my tackle lineup!

8/10/10  Today's update actually began at 5am Sunday morning with me building tackle.  So, I could free up part of yesterday.  John J, Bob K and I fished Leland, MI's North Manitou Island from 1pm until we hit our last fish at 3:30pm.  Click 2011 Firedot, or Bozo
            Our goal was get photos of the new 2011 Firedot color in action.  This new color was King stud both on the riggers and port diver.  Accounting for 5 of our 10 bites.
            Our hits came at 80, 90, & 110 feet down on the riggers.  Port mag wire diver was hot with 150' of line out dialed on 1 1/2 with a Firedot BTI & new 2011 UV meat rig.
            We boxed 8 fish in our 2 1/2 hour mid-day adventure.  Obviously, there's a lot more to this flasher world debut & reel-story that will be discussed in greater detail soon!
     Tomorrow's update reveals the secret of what makes Leland, MI a great port.

8/9/10  Need to postpone this morning's update until I research some worthy info.  Everything I have it just bits and pieces ...awaiting confirmation from trusted sources.
            May I suggest, a click to my tips and tricks section that cover a wide variety of  topics.  All pertinent to this time of the season.  Click for Tips & Tricks
            I promise you a far better update tomorrow when all my ducks are in a row!  Tomorrow's topic?  Hard work is said to have never killed anyone, ...but why risk it?
             Be sure to tune in tomorrow of how our afternoon went out of Leland today.  3 new products will be introduced to the world too!  Click 8/9/10 Leland Kings

8/8/10  Yesterday's fishing news from Manistee is mediocre from the trailer boat fleet.  Word was ...it was not easy and increased fleet pressure did not enhance the bite.
            At this time of the season longer boat runs from port will mean less fished waters.  Problem with August this is the where greenhorns with a bad case of "Salmon Fever" pull some incredible stupid stunts trying to maintain a course.
            Common sense dictates long distance programs like copper and lead core lines should never be used until the fleet has spread out after 9 to 10am. 
             Having to make constant course corrections to keep other boats from sawing off your full cores, or a 300' of copper is not worth the hassle.  Greif arises from the boats in 250' or water not catching wanting to move in shallower.  Then, the boats in the 100' depths with little action wanting to go out deeper looking for Salmon nirvana.

8/7/10  From the looks of the main feeder highways into Manistee, MI ...it's gonna be a busy weekend.  Had to run some errands yesterday and it seemed like every 10th vehicle was pulling a boat rigged for Salmon trolling.  Prime time for adult Kings is now!
            Good luck to all fortunate enough to be fishing this weekend.  This morning sounded like it was gonna be a tad lumpy, but Sunday into next week looks very tolerable.

8/6/10  Website member, chaos aka Steve E has been putting the hurt on the Kings off Leland, MI.  On 8/4/10 they boxed 15 King Salmon.  13 of their fish came off a 2 rigger spread.   Weapons deployed were 12" flashers towing the BTI Fly and X-Glow Sea Green trolling flies.  Undertaker 12 incher got an honorable mention too. 
           Team chaos borrowed the hang hooks from Fish Town's Manitou Charter Fleet brag board to show off their catch. Click 8/4/10 Leland 15 Kings
            Steve's catch came fairly deep, like 145' to 160' down.
            Back a few days ago I said Steve does an awesome job with my flashers and flies.  Today's update proves this reel-fact.  On my count, Steve E has had his new boat out 3 times.  7, 7, and 15 fish are respectable numbers learning  the quirks of a new rig!
            For this weekend we're stocking the Leland Puke, X-Glow Frogs, Monkey Puke, King Purple ...etc. in both the 12 inchers and BTIs at Manistee's new tackle shop. 
            Bud, or Brandon at the Tangled Tackle store can be reached at (231) 887-4242.  This new tackle store is N of Manistee's US 31 drawbridge on the W side of US 31.

8/5/10  Today's topic pertains to the many choices we have in color selections.  Which ones are best?  What colors produce all season long?  How in the heck do I put the right stuff down for maximum fish output?  Click 2008 vs. 2009 tackle comparisons
            My basic "go to" colors are shown on this website time and time again.  I do not try to confuse the issue, or make things more complicated with a new set of colors every time I go.  Sticking with the tried and true: Mambas, X-Glow Frog, King Kryptonite, King Purple and Monkey Puke will rack up a lot of fish fatalities.  Providing there's fish under your vessel.  Most look to colors as the reason for not catching.  When in reality it is your boat's location, speed, or targeted depths where reel-problem lays!

8/4/10  Today's photo is from Jim R aka Blue Rhino who fishes out of Algoma, WI.  Here's what Jim had to say, "Just thought I'd relay a picture of my daughter's first salmon trip. Three of us boated 21 kings in 3 days. 16.60 being the biggest.
          Our biggest contributor was the BTI Blue Bubble 2 fly rig on a dipsy. Couldn't keep it in the water at times. Click for Jim's daughter Kim & her King
The night of August 24th (Tuesday), 2010 is our next full moon.  I plan on pulling the night shift again and hope to duplicate the results we had on 7/26/10.  It was fun fishing in the dark and zero traffic makes night-time ...my time!

8/3/10  A 26 lb. King Salmon graces the home page of this website thru the courtesy of website member, Mike R.  Recently Mike and his Team Fishigan competed in a tournament held in Bluffers Park, Ont. on Lake Ontario.  Click Mike's 26 lb. Lk. Ontario King
            Consensus on the central Lk. MI ports of Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort depends on who you talk to.  Some had fine catches while others struggled.  Sunset bite 9:30pm leading into full night has produced the best bite.

8/2/10  The importance of today's featured photo cannot be stressed enough.  Introducing our younger generation to the sport of big water fishing and putting reel-grins on their young faces goes way beyond wonderful. 
            The future of our sport lays in the hands of the fine looking young men in the 3 part image proudly displaying their catch like seasoned veterans.
            The setup on this photo begins on the first bank or drop-off about 2 miles W of Leland, MI.  Knowledgeable skipper Steve E. aka website member, Chaos boxed 7 Kings in the middle of the day.  Mostly by fishing to depths pushing 200' down.  Steve does an awesome job with my flashers and flies.  Click for Team Chaos
             As a fly on the wall, I'm willing to bet it was a party watching this future generation of dedicated Great Lakes anglers wrestle their fish to the boat!

8/1/10  There's a new tackle store in Manistee, MI. Tangled Tackle Company is now carrying my tackle.  In business location-location-location is everything.  TTC wins the location contest with large parking lot that can accommodate trailer boats.  They open early & carrying herring.  If you need more info from this tackle shop call (231) 887-4242.
            Manistee's Shipwatch Marina on the river/channel across, or north from the Riverside Motel has a selection of my product line and sells herring too.
            Today's featured photo is from the underbelly of MI's UP.  Fairport, MI is semi-close to the WI state line and borders the N end of Lk. MI. Click Fairport, MI Kings
             My thanks to Mike S. for sending his photos.  His larger fish are very chunky with a thick girth.  Fairport has best fed fish Lk. MI Kings I've seen all season!

7/31/10  Good bye July as the 2010 season is just zooming by!  Scary thought is we've only got about a good six weeks left for adult Salmon.
             Yesterday, I mentioned about how charter skippers run big numbers of fish.  The reason is more obvious than most people think.  It's because they have a larger crew (paying customers) that can handle 2, or 3 fish at a time ...easily!
            While the deckhand unhooks, sets lines, and boxes fish.  This leave time for the wheelman (usually the charter skipper) to concentrate on where the fish are (depths) on the sonar/graph.  Also, the wheelman notes the lat/lons, or marks fish on the GPS.
              During the evening of 7/26/10 we went thru a spell dealing with 4 Kings almost at once.  2 people handling this kind of action is a major handicap.  We lost time untangling rods & resetting.  It would have been far better if we'd have hit 2 doubles.

7/30/10   Let's close the last week in July by wishing everyone a double helping of good luck if you're fishing the big water this weekend. 
             There's a whole lot more to fishing than just sticking hooks into a fish, ...then cranking him in.  It's ALL about FUN and enjoying the moment!
             This is a bunch easier to do if your mesh with your fishing partners.  This was the case with me last Monday when I had a chance to meet and fish with Matt B from OH.
             When the heat is on ...and with my years in the charter business I tend to get short and direct about what needs to be done.  Especially, when dealing with multiple fish and fast paced action.  There's a way to do this without being overly offensive.
             My new fishin' buddy, Matt B aka Bushleaguer on our message board understood exactly where I was coming from and was a joy to fish with. Click Matt 7/26/10

Wonder how charter skippers run big numbers of fish?  This secret revealed tomorrow!

7/29/10  Don't know what Bacterial Kidney Disease looks like?  Then check out today's featured photo from last Monday night.  Our smallest King, a 5 pounder had white goobers (for lack of a better word) in it's kidney.  A Salmon kidney is dark blood-red and kinda liver colored running the length of the backbone up inside the rib cavity.
            This disease almost wiped out our King Salmon fishery back in the later 1980s leading into the early 1990s.  The MDNR finally got a handle on this fish killing plague by sterilizing their hatcheries & mass inoculations of young Salmon. Click 7/26/10 BKD

7/28/10  The particulars of the 7/26/10 midnight run begins with the Salmon were north up towards Onekama from Manistee (20 to 23 N numbers). 
           Set up in 250' with good temp in the low 50s in the 60' to 70' range in the high 19s.  Trolled NW for one hour.  This brought us out to 370 fow, as I was lining up to put the sun behind our baits on a long eastward troll towards pier heads of Onekama.
            Soon as we turned eastward, we dinged a single.  Then another single before all hell broke loose with an onslaught of 4 rampaging Kings on a hard bite! 
            With extra luck on our side all 4 made it to the boat somehow?  A pair of fishermen dealing with 4 fish at dark-time while thrilling ...is no easy matter!!!
            Depth on the riggers transposed to normal readings were probably 125' to 60'.  I have 350' of a special no-hum 125# test cable & my readings will differ from most of you.
             Noteworthy is the bite tapered off after we boxed our last fish at around 11pm.  Made several observations about night fishing I'll share with you in the future.
             Tomorrow's update will cover how fast we make new fishin' buddies when you're put to the test of a hectic nonstop bite. Click new fishin' buddy Matt B's teener King

7/27/10  Got a heck of an interesting update in store for you about our full moon night fishing adventure out of Manistee, MI last evening.
            It went much better ...than I ever could have hoped for! We pulled the plug around midnight with a decent box of 8 kings that almost filled a 100 quart fish box.
            Guess you're going to have to wait until tomorrow for the vitals on our sneak attack night assault on Mr. King Salmon. Click for our twilight 4 banger
            Overloaded with work right now, but find time to post a photo of our 7/26/10 hot rigs.  All old tried and true standbys:  Click 7/26/10 night box of Kings

7/26/10  Fishing is a matter of strong contradictions.  Try as I may, not to think about the probably unsolvable ...this came to mind: our best selling meat rig (Monkey Puke) exhibits zero UV properties.  Top selling flies (X-Glow Sea Green & BTI Fly) light up instantly like a Christmas tree when a black light hits them.
             Could it be that the scent from a natural bait/meat rig bait overrides a Salmon draw to a highly visually activated UV artificial bait/lure?   Does this indicate the eyesight of fish takes a backseat to their sense of smell? 
            Hate this kind of conjecture, but do our Great Lakes fish feed more from natural scent trail and their lateral line perception ...than they do from sight?  Guess we'll never know.  Proving some things in our universe are meant to be an eternal mystery.

7/25/10  The most reactive to black lighting is my X-Glow BTI and Sea Green trolling flies.  Now, there's no reason to wonder why both of these flies are the most popular.
            While these 2 patterns have glow Mylar in them, the black light lit these up instantly, ...as today's remarkable photo proves! Click and see for yourself
            This image is 100% reel, not tampered with in any way, or by any computer photo enhancing program.  All my glow in the dark images are never retouched!

7/24/10  Used a mini black light to see which color reacted most in an un-retouched photo with NO color manipulation.  Black light goes by ultraviolet, or UV.
            To quote Wikipedia: "Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than x-rays."
            Under normal conditions UV is undetectable.  The only thing UV has to do with fishing is UV light will penetrate the water deeper.  Glow and X-Glow benefit most from UV, as this kind of light will charge up the glow in any bait. Click UV lit meat heads
            In my test our fluorescent chartreuse & blue colorants reacted most favorable to black light.  Surprisingly, HRP & red tiger took on an eerie glow and stood out too. 
            Artificial black lights can make lures looking interesting.  However, in the reel-world we do not have disco black lighting focused on our lures a 100' down. 
            Making outlandish claims to what a fish can, or cannot see is better left to the ignorant, cuz a honest man will tell you ...we just don't know!

7/23/10  Good luck to all fishing today and those getting ready for this weekend.  Wind and Wave forecast is a mixed up deal between winds from 5-10 knots up to 25 knots. 
            Possibility of thunderstorms on Saturday. This Sunday looks like the best day this coming weekend with favorable winds light winds from the N switching NE at 5-10 knots.
            One of the hottest topics on our message board concerns last weekend's Ludington, MI tournament.  Under threat of protest the supposed winning boat was allowed to withdraw instead of facing a stronger penalty of being banned from all future competition.  Granted, tough choices face tournament committees.
             In 1987, or 1988 I fished the Lowrance Ludington big deal tournament and finished 9, or 10th.  Winning boat was allowed to weigh their catch without any penalty in spite of being inside the pier heads way past the allotted time on day II.
             My solution was never to fish another Ludington tournament again!  Accusations run rampant in all competitive fishing events.  Could this be the reason Great Lakes contests are stuck in limbo and not moving forward with better payouts?
              To clarify my point in 1987-1988 the pro winner was awarded 10 grand for the Ludington Lowrance tourney.  In 2010 first in this event paid a shrinking & pitiful $7500

7/22/10  Interesting reel-story for you today.  Greg C lives in IL, but has been fishing Lk. Ontario off Toronto.  His results have been stellar on Kings.  Huge by our Lk. MI standards. Half his total is over 25 lbs. per fish & Greg's largest so far ...is around 37 pounds.
             Even more fascinating is a goodly percentage of Greg's hog Kings are coming on  a new and yet undisclosed secret meat rig.  Click King way over 30 lbs.
             Hope to get out soon to confirm these new tackle improvements planned for 2011 are not a flash in the pan by rigorous testing this month and next. 
             Gonna try night fishing this weekend if the pond's wind gods cooperate.  Full moon is on the 26th, next Monday.  Midnight sleepy-time Salmon should be fun!

7/21/10  Today's featured photo is from the Port of Pentwater, MI.  This port is fairly close to Little Point Sable with great bottom structure and fishing.  Chris has been doing well on the larger Salmon with my flashers and flies. Click Chris's Pentwater fish
            Fishing is pretty good and Ludington's Big Point Sable too.  Light weekday boat traffic is helping the catch numbers, but the fish are coming deep.
            The pro boat Z-1 won the Ludington Division I tournament after skipper Dave Engle withdrew his team Best Chance Too's boat from this tournament.
            Capt. Dave Engle's wise move keeps the integrity of this tournament intact and he is to be congratulated for doing so.  Avoiding a messy protest procedure.

7/20/10  When weather allowed, fishing was decent out of the Port of Manistee, MI last weekend.  Double figures was not out of reach with the trailer boat fleet.  The common denominator was 90' down and deeper! Click 10 Manistee Kings on 7/18/10
            Last week and weekend was Ludington, MI's big tournament week.  Ludington always does things with a little more panache than Manistee.  This town always attracts more anglers and has a lot to offer.  It's said to be the number 1 port in Michigan.
            Winner in the pro division is still undeclared due to a protest for knocking off fish with the net in a no-cull tournament.  Best Chance Too is the boat under protest.
            The no-cull is a rule designed to eliminate throwing back smaller, less desirable fish and in some cases fish that are hooked too deeply to survive.  Tossing back Seagull food for the sake of winning is what no-cull is supposed to prevent.
            Right, wrong, or indifferent rules in tournament fishing need to be re-examined. Cuz proving somebody intentionally speared a fish off with a net is an awkward, if not an impossible matter to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
            Controversy like this stains competitive fishing.  Think not? ...then go to the rules in the pro division where everyone is considered a cheater.  All pro tourney contestants are required to carry an impartial observer to keep the lid on dishonesty.

7/19/10  Today's featured photo is from Mike G taken while fishing out of Kewaunee, WI.  He results with the John J Combo meat rig/flasher prove results from my tackle easily transpose from boat to boat with no long learning curve.
           Today is one of the rare occasions featured photos match at the top and bottom.  If you closely examine Mike G's picture you'll see the skirts on the attractor flies are not bloused out for maximum effect. Click for Mike's box of fish
          In case you missed my 7/7/10 update concerning flaring out the flies for an even more deadly presentation? Clicking here will retrieve that info

7/18/10  Took a break from the big lake and went Bass fishing.  Mother Nature had colored my largest Bass with beautiful gold and green tones.  On a ultra-light 5' rod with 6# test a 2 pound Largemouth can flat out get with the program.
             Prior to taking on Great Lakes fishing in 1968 my big deal was Bass.  Fished several of the southern impoundments, Florida and TVA waters.  With Bass in most cases you have to set the hook hard ...unlike our big water stuff. 
             It's darn exciting to do a Billy Joe-Bob hook set.  Watching this fish dig sideways to me was just like a Salmon.  Proving a fish is a fish, no matter what kind it is!  All fish species share several of the same traits.  Click for Gold-Green Bucketmouth
             Bass lead a charmed existence.  Years of TV has taught the public catch and release is the norm with our country's most popular game fish.

7/17/10  Took yesterday's update to heart about recreational activities making life a lot more tolerable.  So, I'm taking most of the weekend off.  Regular updates will resume by Monday, if not sooner.  May I suggest the Encyclopedia of Tips and Tricks section if you're looking to polish old skills, or gain new ones:  Click for Tips and Tricks
            Records are meant to be broken and in that case Manistee, MI's claim to fame with the world record Brown Trout might be short lived.
            Roger Hellen fishing out of Racine, WI landed a monster 41.5 pound Brown Trout yesterday.  Hellen was competing in the Salmon-A-Rama put on by Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin, Inc. Click potential new world record WI Brown

7/16/10  Good luck to all fishing this weekend.  Recreational activities make dealing with life's pressures one helluva lot more tolerable.  Getting a way for a few days refreshes the soul. Temps for the coming weekend are in the low 80s.  Lk. MI seas are predicted at 1 to 3s.  Sunday forecast says 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms.  After this Monday thunderstorms are on the menu thru next Thursday.
           Wish I had concrete fishing info where I could set your boat down on a large herd of Kings.  Truth is fishing has been up and down off Manistee.  Charters with their inside network are doing decent, but this info is never made public on the marine radio.  All charter vessel fishing hotspot communications has switched over to cell phones.

7/15/10  According to my personal calendar we've officially entered into prime time for King Salmon on our Great Lakes (7/15/10 thru 9/10/10).
           Today's featured photo is website member, John J hoisting a King we caught on a rig named in his honor.  The John J Rig is 12" X-Glow King Kryptonite flasher sporting a 3 fly Undertaker meat rig.  This combo is lethal on deep fish.  Click for John J Rig
            While today's fish photographed larger, it's slightly shy of 12 pounds.  From where the mouth hinges the King Salmon says it's a female.  Click for this 7/14/10 King
            Coloration, scales and the size of eggs say this fish is an adult.  Could this be a 3 year old spawner the WI DNR has done confirmed studies on? Click for this fish

7/14/10  Gonna be pushing 90 degrees today in Manistee, MI.  Mid season hot spell is raising the water temp in Lk. Michigan.  Moving the fish to ever great depths.  If predicted above average temps stay the course, Aug-Sept thermocline is going to reel-deep. 
            Deep adult Salmon get reel-stupid at 100 plus feet down.  Dialing in on these fish requires 12 pound cannonballs and very stiff rigger releases.  What worked at 50' and 70' will not perform when you're towing an attractor 140'-180' down.
            Mentioned 12 pound cannon balls, because a lot of riggers cannot handle heavier.  To keep my Big Jon Juniors in the game, I downsized the rigger cable from 150# test to 125# test.  My rigger rods are spooled with Cortland Spectron 35# test that's .010 in diameter.  With these 2 steps reaching 180' to 200' with 12# balls is within reason.

7/13/10  Let's discuss the serious problem of extremely high surface temps at this early date in July.  We're way ahead of anything previously with the surface of Lk. Michigan pushing 80 degrees 2 to 3 miles from shore (seen 78.8 degrees on 7/10/10).
           The warmest summer on record was 1988 in central Michigan.  I chartered out of Frankfort, MI back then and we had surface temperatures in the 80s a lot of the time in August.  Driving the fish deeper and deeper, as we struggled to catch Kings during the height of the Bacterial Kidney Disease that ruined the King Salmon fishery ...bigtime!
            I first used wire divers that summer, but this history lesson can wait until the off season.  The subject of warm water is growing the "sea fleas" that stick to your lines.  Especially, the Spectra Braid Super Lines.  The fleas (zooplankton) have not reached epidemic portions yet where they jam up the line guides.
             There's a form of green mossy algae I have yet to deal with.  This stuff is in the deep water to the shore at Manistee's Orchard Beach State Park.  When I see some of this algae? ...a photo will be forth coming.  More on warm lake concerns tomorrow.

7/12/10  Sporadic is the best word to describe what's going on at my home Port of Manistee, MI.  Trailer boat results from last weekend looked to be around a handful on a morning set.  Afternoon's were semi-lackluster compared to morning action.
            Needless to say, I do not get to fish very much.  Start out each season promising myself to fish more.  Then harsh reality sets in, and that says work. 
            Each order we receive at the webstore is our chance to impress with same day shipping and get your package on the way ASAP!
            Redone my transom's deck and gunnels, but that story is better saved for tomorrow.  I did learn a lot working with pickup bedliner.  This will come in handy at the end of this season when I redo the floor of my boat.  Click transom upgrade

7/11/10  Fished yesterday afternoon from 4:30pm until lines up at 9pm.  We had 4 bites boating a small King along with a Steelhead in the 5-6 lb. bracket.  The 2 hits missed were more like half hearted tugs from fish not on a hard bite. Click X-Glow Sea Green Fly
            After the glowing reports about Friday morning things sure changed in a hurry.  We ran down to the 4s off Big Point Sable and trolled N to the 10s in 130 to 200 feet of water.  Never seen one good clump of bait and marked darn few fish. 
            Slow action is better than no action seeing the last time I was afloat was a good 2 weeks ago.  Spent some of that time coating the trolling board and transom pieces with pickup bed liner.  You'll see the Steelhead Chuck aka CBull is holding ...look to the lower-middle right to see the hard-wearing liner stuff.  Click Chuck's fish & tan bed-liner

7/10/10   Don't have much for you today, but what I do have is good news!   Yesterday Manistee, MI had it's best day of the year (so far) on King Salmon.  Early fish were tight to the shelf in 110'-130'.  As the morning progressed, the action shifted more to suspended fish 90'-125' down on Manistee's shelf (drop-off) in the 150'-250' depths.
            How do you know you're on what the locals call the "shelf?"  From straight out of Manistee S towards Big Point Sable once you hit 55' fow ...you're on the shelf, or drop-off.
            The super hot setup for Manistee fleet's was meat.  5 fish limits were semi-common place.  Action at Ludington, MI is just as good, if not better off Big Point Sable.

7/9/10  Details, details, details amount to fish tails.  Not tales of what could have been.
This is the case with fluffing out the Mylar skirts on our 2 and 3 fly meat rigs.  Spidering these strands out adds more mass making meat rigs even more deadly.
             You cannot hurt the Mylar in our meat rigs.  So, bend them hard against the grain.  I've got attractor flies we first made in 2004 that still look almost brand new.
              Today's featured photo shows an attractor fly being pulled backwards thru a close hand bending back all strands in one swift motion.  Opening said fly for an enhanced presentation.  The "mass" thing I was referring to is even more important this season as above average temperatures drive the fish deeper & deeper.  Reel-facts say deep is in the wheelhouse of attractors and meat rigs. Click fly spidering technique
              Yesterday morning left a lot to be desired weather-wise for those who tried to fish out of Manistee, MI.  Rain and fog was the deal.  There's been very few boats fishing out of Manistee during the week.  With tackle production keeping me shore-side ...coming up with anything close to Manistee fish report has been a task.

7/8/10  Latest word on the fishing from Manistee is reel-decent.  Fish are coming semi-deep, like 90' to 120' down over 150' to 200'.  Expect about a handful per pm trip.
             Let's go with Part I of tech tip to enhance results when using 2 & 3 fly meat rigs.  By fluffing out the Mylar skirts ...more mass is added increasing visibility.
             I found the easiest way to do this was run the attractor flies backwards thru a closed hand.  This spiders out the skirt for larger profile and a better presentation.
             This is a lot quicker when compared to flaring out each individual strand of Mylar.  Picky-pick bending back each individual strand is time consuming.
             Seen times when the only thing we did was blouse/flare out the skirts and the fish went right back to biting after a lull in the action.
              Today's featured photo is from John R who did just fine with his first trip out New Buffalo, MI with meat. Click John R's King & flies that need flaring
             While he didn't blouse out the skirts he still had the best part of 50 pounds in 4 fish.  Meat rigs will work with the flies laying flat, ...it's just they work better flared out.
 Tomorrow "detailed" demonstration photos how to correctly spider out attractor flies.

7/7/10  Those who fished Great Lakes last weekend all caught some fish.  From less than a handful to double digits.  Best numbers came in from our friends WI.
             Thermocline off Manistee is said to be deep.  Like ...at least 90'.  This is good news, cuz 90' of warm 65 degree water grows the food chain i.e. plankton & zooplankton.
             Both of these bottom rungs on the Great Lakes food chain have short life spans.  Within 2 to 3 weeks most plankton and zooplankton species die off. 
             Then, these microscopic creatures sink down in the warmer water above the thermocline until they hit the denser cold water at the temp break.  This dead sinking biomass suspends at the cold temp break.  Providing the bait fish with a food source.  That's what usually makes the thermocline such a productive place to fish.
             30 years and counting our government knew the Asian Carp would sooner or later be on the doorstep of the Great Lakes and have did nothing.  The Great Lakes basin is still connected to the Mississippi River drainage with little hope for a fast resolve to this easy to fix problem!!  Click for a 90 lb. IL record Big Head.

7/6/10  To better understand the Asian Carp issue today's featured image is a drainage chart of the State of Arkansas.  You can see all the avenues to the Mississippi River.
             Black, Silver & Big Head Asian Carp were imported from Taiwan in 1973 by a Arkansas fish famer looking to use his own stock of Grass Carp to control weeds.
             1974 marks Arkansas stocking 380k Grass Carp.  This state embarks full fledged into raising the species of Big Head, Silver and Black Asian Carp.
             In 1979 Arkansas working with a grant from our US EPA goes to a Carp instead of chemicals animal engineering project for waste treatment retention basins.
             1980 wild Asian Carp are first observed in the Mississippi River and the migration march towards our cherished Great Lakes was on! Click waterways of Arkansas
             Today's update is not tainted by personal feelings.  Only the reel facts on how our political system has clouded the issue on a animal engineering project gone astray.
             You hear zilch about the federal grant by EPA funding the Arkansas's Asian Carp animal engineering project.  Instead, the media always lays this on the shoulders of fish farmers, not ignorant government bureaucrats with less sense than God gave a Goose.
              Tomorrow a shocker about the 30 year march of the Asian Carp!

7/5/10  For Manistee, MI it was hot yesterday.  Near record 91 degree high temp for Manistee and surrounding communities.  90s is not normal for this area.  In 2009 ...all summer long ...I doubt we had 3 days in the 90s.
            Be sure to be here tomorrow, as I expose the cruel hoax being laid on the fishing public about Asian Carp.  Eye opening reel-facts will be brought to your attention in a verifiable timeline and EXACTLY who is responsible for these fish entering the Great Lakes!

7/4/10  4th of July Holiday 2010 as our season moves towards prime time King Salmon.
           A couple of sleeper ports, or places to fish as of lately has been East Traverse Bay (close to Traverse City, MI) and Rogers City, MI.  East Traverse Bay is Laker heaven and Rogers City is a mixed bag.  Click 7/2/10 Rogers City fish
          The wind gods are doing nobody a favor today off central Lk. Michigan ports with winds to 30 knots and waves to 5 footer, maybe larger.  Trailer boat fleet will probably stay on the trailer.  Tomorrow looks a lot better with 1s & 2s with wind from the S & SW.
           Blows like this are good for our region with the warm temps piling up plankton for the bait to eat on the eastern shore of Lk. MI.  Also, this drives the temp down.  The deeper fish are? ...that's when attractor/fly, or meat programs rule the roost!

7/3/10  Hope you hear, or see fish-on!  Re-doing the back panels to my boat.  When that project is completed? ...a fishing I will go.  Have a great day and enjoy yourself.
           Yesterday, the 2 main feeder trunk lines (M55 & US31) into Manistee were loaded with RVs and vehicles towing boats.  Looks to be a very busy 4th in Manistee, MI.

7/2/10  Like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable 4th of July Holiday.  Best ports to fish?  Pretty much all of them are doing about the same.  Only worthwhile tip I have is do not look for look 5 mile trolls loaded with piles fish.  Concentrate on the small pockets when you find them.  Especially, if any bait whatsoever is present.
            The weather is going to be reel-nice with highs in the 80s.  There's a 30% chance of thunderstorm on Monday, but that's to be expected with the high temps.  Seas
look to a bearable 2 to 4 footers and 1 to 3 footers this weekend.
            Dug up some more info on website member, SteveO's nighttime fishing tactics.  According to Steve dead-slow on the speed.  Another key ingredient? ...all the action in the dark was on high, out of temp warm-water fish (in temp fish? ...38-54 degrees). 
            35' to 60' down was the hot zone with 10 colors of lead core being hot rods.  Riggers were set at 40' and 60'.  His divers worked best with 2 fly meat rigs.

7/1/01  Still fascinated with WI website member, SteveO and his 16 fish from 8:30pm thru 2:30am.  He proved fish do feed at night during the full moon cycle beyond a doubt.
             SteveO verified the Salmon use sight, sound and scent to feed.  His meat rod results were 50% on the plus side when compared to artificials on 6/28/10.
             If the right weather presents itself ...I will try to duplicate his results on our side of the pond.  Besides, we're entering the busiest time of the season for tackle sales and night offers me another alternative to get on the pond.  I have twin aft deck lights that should make things go fairly easy even in the dark.  Next full moon will be July 26th.
   More on this very noteworthy & seldom heard topic of nighttime fishing the future!